The state’s decision comes amid an increase in cases driven by the Delta variant of the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus.
According to a release from the Massachusetts state government, the mandate for staff to be vaccinated is “to strengthen infection control and protect vulnerable residents.”
It applies to all staff in the state’s 378 skilled nursing facilities and two Soldiers’ Homes. The staff includes “all individuals employed directly or by contract” by the long-term care providers.
Specifically, all unvaccinated workers are required to get the first dose of a two-dose vaccine by Sept. 1, and be fully vaccinated by Oct. 10.
“To ensure compliance, beginning Oct. 10, 2021, the Department of Public Health (DPH) will enforce this mandate for provider operated skilled nursing homes,” stated a release from the administration of Gov. Charlie Baker, a Republican.
According to the release, 155 facilities had less than 75 percent of their staff fully vaccinated as of Aug. 2.
There will be exemptions for people with “medical restrictions or sincerely held religious beliefs that prevent them from receiving vaccination.”
Over in Connecticut, a similar mandate is currently being drafted by the state government, reported the Hartford Courant. More than 90 percent of nursing home residents in the state have been vaccinated.
Gov. Ned Lamont, a Democrat, said at a press conference on Wednesday that the requirement is a “priority” for his administration, according to the outlet. He added that he expects the administration to issue the order within the next 24 hours.
Genesis Healthcare, the largest nursing home chain in the United States, spanning some 70,000 employees and over 350 nursing homes and communities, announced late Monday a COVID-19 vaccine mandate for all nursing home staff.
A Genesis spokeswoman told McKnight’s Long-Term Care News that those who decline the vaccine can apply for a medical or religious exemption, but “if an exemption is not granted, the unvaccinated employee may be subject to termination.”